Our annual truffle dinner just ended, and the event was a huge success. As we told you last month, this fall was a banner year for truffles — their quantity and quality are out of this world. In fact, we’re so in love with this year’s truffles that we’re going to have two truffle dinner revivals: December 11–13 and December 19–21.
We’ll be featuring three truffle dishes on this menu. Last month’s mortar and pestled truffles were such a hit, we’re bringing those back. The white truffles will be ground up with fresh, piquant olio nuovo and then slathered on grilled beef vitello. In addition, we’ll be serving truffle spumante alongside a poached egg topped duck confit-potato hash cake as well as a tajarin with sage butter and, of course, plenty of truffles!
But this truffle dinner isn’t the whole story. We’ll also be continuing to shave truffles over all of our menu items for the entire month of December.
Make your reservations for next week’s truffle dinner soon. Seats will go quickly!
IT’S THE YEAR WE’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR:
Lots of rain followed by heat in northern Italy, meaning an abundance of white truffles. Meaning criminally low prices. Meaning the 2014 Truffle Dinners are officially extending to a fifth night on Saturday. Meaning truffles upstairs and downstairs. Truffles in cocktails. Truffles mortared, pestled, and slathered. Truffles on pizzas. Meaning truffles on everything and everyone.
Meaning truffles will continue to pop up on the menu throughout the month of December. Check the daily menu for more up-to-date cameo appearances.
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Amidst the flurry of truffles Oliveto co-Owner, Bob Klein, had time for a quick chat with our friends over at Berkeleyside.
Why the passion for truffles?
I don’t know if it is a passion really, it is just something that I could do and got good at. I’ve come to know a great deal about truffles, and have probably bought (and cleaned) a couple of hundred pounds of white truffles — that’s a lot.
When did you first discover truffles, and where?
My earliest, and best memory of truffles is coming back for dinner to our truffle hunter’s house, and having him mash all the small whites into new olive oil and slather it over grilled meat.
MENU FOR TRUFFLE AND MUSHROOM DINNERS, 2012
Italian white truffles shaved tableside, offered by the gram
Tuesday, November 13 – Friday, November 16
Crostino of fonduta Val d’Aostana
Pan-roasted sweetbreads with bone marrow, salsify purée, and roast Belgian endive
Crudo of Nantucket Bay scallops with black truffles, celeriac, and apple
Sformatino of Chanterelle mushrooms with vinsanto spumante
Poached farm egg with mushroom-potato hash and black truffle zabaglione
Panna cotta of Parmesan cheese and duck liver
Carne cruda of Magruder beef with black truffles
Salad of frisée, apple, and Yellow Finn potato with black truffle vinaigrette
Soup: vellutata of sunchoke with black truffle crema
Agnolotti dal plin
Tajarin with butter glaze
Raviolo of stinging nettles, ricotta, and egg yolk
Butterball potato gnocchi with brown butter
Chestnut tortelloni of Castelmagno cheeses with honey
Cappelletti of pigeon with fonduta Val d’Aostana
Fontina cheese-stuffed breast of hen with black truffle spätzle, cabbage,and golden balsamic sugo
Pigeon-stuffed quail with Maitake mushroom farroto and pigeon sugo
Charcoal-grilled New York strip with potato purée, Swiss chard, and La Tur cheese fonduta
Pan-roasted wild mushroom-stuffed pork porterhouse with duck liver-stuffed date, celeriac purée, and escarole
Herb-crusted Alaskan halibut with black truffle brandade, roasted fennel, and garlic vellutata
Squash polpettone with black truffle and Walla Walla onion crema
Turkish coffee ice cream-chocolate tartufi with browned butter-cardamom spuma
French Butter pear and raspberry compote with vinsanto ice cream and black peppercorn tuile
Warm Rome Beauty apple and pain d’épices Charlotte with crème anglaise and brandied black truffle confit
Crispy chestnut dumplings in mascarpone zabaglione with persimmon confetti
Bittersweet chocolate cake
* all desserts can be made alcohol free with appropriate substitutions (vanilla ice cream with the pears, pomegranate sorbetto instead of sgroppino, truffles in butter without brandy)
The kitchen is getting its first look at this year’s truffle haul. Bob brought back these beauties from Umbria which should take us through the first night of Oliveto’s Truffle Dinners, starting next week. But never fear, we have a lot more truffles.
As we reported earlier, this year’s white truffles are scarce, which means they’re commanding meaning higher prices. We’ve become adept at working the truffle market by reading its driving forces: the moon, rainfall, and the numerous truffle fairs. And this this year there was a new player, the Russians, who were buying up everything! But never fear, we’ve got you covered.
The menu will also have a nice spattering of black truffles from Burgundy. Reservations are full to the brim on Friday, November 16th, but there’s still availability Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights. The full menu will be posted here on Monday.
Aldo Vacca of Produttori del Barbaresco gives us his vintage picks for this year’s truffle dinners:
The Oliveto “Wine in Time” program officially launched in 2007 with the intention of finding a way to serve great, age-worthy wine at somewhat affordable prices. Serving Barbaresco or Barolo with only five or six years of age doesn’t do wines like these much justice and in our opinion barbarescos and barolos made in a modern, more early-drinking style are not of the same quality.
Through good friends and cleverness, we were able to establish a very fine, though focused cellar of outstanding vintage Barbarescos and Barolos at bargain prices.
Events like our annual Truffle Dinners are when all that effort (and waiting!) truly pay off. We are so pleased to be able to offer some wonderful aged wines from our cellar as recommended by our friend Aldo Vacca of the renowned Produttori del Barbaresco estate in Piedmonte.
Wines for Truffles 2012
Special Produttori del Barbaresco Flight
Nebbiolo, Produttori del Barbaresco, ‘Asili’, Barbaresco, Piemonte 2001
Nebbiolo, Produttori del Barbaresco, ‘Ovello’, Barbaresco, Piemonte 2001
Whites by the glass
Cortese, La Scolca, ‘Black Label’, Gavi di Gavi, Piemonte 2009
Nascetta, Elvio Cogno, ‘Anas-Cetta’, Piemonte 2009
Fiano di Avellino, I Favati, “Pietramara Etichetta Bianca’, Campania 2007
Ribolla Gialla, Gravner, Anfora, Friuli Venezia Giulia, 2004
Verdicchio/Trebbiano/Malvasia/Grechetto, Monastero Suore Cistercensi,
Coenobium ‘Rusticum’, Lazio 2009
Ripoli/Fenile/Ginestra, Marisa Cuomo, ‘Fiorduva’, Costa d’Amalfi, Campania 2009
Reds by the glass
Nebbiolo, Marchesi di Barolo, Barolo, Piemonte 2006
Chiavanesca, Nino Negri, ‘Sfursat’, Valtellina, Lombardia 2007
Gropello, Zuliani, Garda Classico, Lombardia 2007
Barbera/Bonarda, Castello di Luzzano, ‘Romeo’, Emilia-Romagna 2008
Merlot/Pinot Nero/Cabernet Sauvignon, Movia, ‘Veliko Rosso’, Goriska Brda, Slovenia 2004
Nebbiolo, Castello di Verduno, Barolo, Piemonte 2002
Whites by the Bottle
Riesling, Bollig-Lehnert, ‘Piesporter Goldtropfchen’, Spatlese, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany 1989
Malvasia, Boncompagni Ludovisi Fiorano, ‘Botte 26’, Lazio 1994 /
‘Botte 32’, Lazio 1993 / ‘Botte 26’, Lazio 1988 / ‘Botte 25’, Lazio 1986
Reds by the Bottle
Nebbiolo, Bruno Giacosa, ‘Gallina di Neive’, Barbaresco, Piemonte 1995
Nebbiolo, Giuseppe Rinaldi, ‘Brunate’, Barolo, Piemonte 1998
So far, all is well in Truffleland. I arrived last night in Barbaresco, surveyed the truffle scene this morning in Alba, and talked to confidants in Umbria. I feeling pretty good about this year’s offering. Better truffles are just now coming on and a very good rain just passed, which will only improve things.
Aldo Vacca from Produttori del Barbaresco was taught that proper truffle shaving meant completely covering the dish. Here he demonstrates. This was a block-buster truffle. We ‘re at Trattoria Antica Torre in Barbaresco, famous for their hand-cut tajarin, which is made with only flour and egg yolks.
Oliveto co-owner Bob Klein and General Manager Shane Walker depart in less than a week for Italy to gather white truffles for our upcoming dinners. We’ve already heard some preliminary reports about the start of the season from a few of our contacts.
Bad news first: Our friend Aldo Vacca in the Piedmont says the weather has been very dry and very hot.
BUT he also says the truffles he has seen so far are small but high quality and just recently, the weather has turned and it has started raining. That is definitely GOOD news.
In Tuscany, our truffle hunter Giorgio is saying much of the same.
If you want to follow along, we encourage you to bookmark this page or add it to your RSS feed as we will be posting videos and dispatches live from the hunt.